ACCC welcomes funding to establish National Anti-Scam Centre
The ACCC has welcomed the Australian Government’s commitment to establish a new National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC).
Last week’s Budget allocated $58 million in funding to the ACCC to complete the setup of the National Anti-Scam centre over the next two years.
“We’ll be using this funding to build the technology needed to support high frequency data sharing with a range of agencies, law enforcement and the private sector, with the mission to make Australia a harder target for scammers,” ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said.
“The centre will bring together the expertise and resources to disrupt scammers making contact with Australians, raise consumer awareness about how to avoid scams, and link scam victims to services where they have lost money or had their identity compromised.”
“Through increased sharing of scam reports and other initiatives, the centre will help inform finance, telecommunications and digital platforms sectors to take more timely and effective steps to stop scammers,” Ms Lowe added.
The National Anti-Scam Centre will be phased in from 1 July 2023, with capability, including data-sharing technology, to be built over the next three years.
Work will also commence on the first fusion cell, which will coordinate efforts across government and the private sector to combat specific scam activity more effectively.
“This additional level of coordination and focus will help target anti-scam activities and help prevent losses to scams,” Ms Lowe said.
In the first year of operation, the National Anti-Scam Centre will work closely with ASIC in delivering its scam website takedown service and support ACMA to continue its important work in combatting telecommunications scams.
“In 2022, text messages surpassed phone calls as the most reported contact method by scammers with almost 80,000 reports about SMS scams. We welcome the Federal Government’s commitment to introduce an SMS Sender ID register, similar to that implemented in Singapore, which will assist in disrupting impersonation scams and help consumers determine whether a text message using a sender ID is from a trusted source,” Ms Lowe said.
“While these are all positive steps in the fight against scams, we also believe the work of the NASC would be greatly assisted by the establishment of effective cross-industry standards with coverage and teeth to ensure scammers can’t exploit weak links.”
Since receiving seed funding in October 2022, the ACCC has been consulting on the future work of the National Anti-Scam Centre and opportunities to better protect consumers from scams.
“We have received strong feedback that increased coordination of anti-scam efforts across government, the finance and telecommunications sectors and digital platforms would make a significant impact on the fight against scams. This will be the NASC’s focus,” Ms Lowe said.
The ACCC has been allocated $58 million in funding to establish the National Anti-Scam Centre.
This includes a technology build of $44 million which will enable the NASC to:
- Receive a report of a scam from any institution (private or government) and centralise this intelligence
- Distribute data to those who need it most – such as banks to freeze an account, telcos to block a call, digital platforms to take down a website or account.
- Analyse and act on the trends sourced from this data to disrupt scams and educate Australians.
The remaining funding of $14 million will be used to resource the NASC to deliver fusion cells; provide education and communications activities in collaboration with the private sector and support the ongoing data analysis; intelligence gathering, and disruption.